PNGSI Bishops meet
- Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
Port Moresby: The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Bishops Conference (CBC PNGSI) commenced on the 17th April and will conclude on 24th April, 2018.
There are 19 bishops that are present for the meeting which is being held at Emmaus Conference Centre, Boroko. It has as its theme: ‘Called to the fullness of Life and Love’.
Archbishop Kurian Mathew Vayalunkal, Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands was the main celebrant at the Eucharistic on the morning of 19th April. Witnessing to Gods call and being close to the priests, people and the young was highlighted by the Archbishop as he spoke to the bishops during the homily. Referring to the story of Philip (Acts 8:26-40), he invited the bishops to obey Gods call, and be open to what God wants from them along their journey. “If we stay close to our people, are willing to listen to them and remain in communication with them, they will give us a place in their life”, he said.
The Archbishop thanked the bishops for their dedication, unity and love for their people. The recent suffering experienced by the people of Mendi, due to the terrible earthquake is an example of care and concern for the people.
He spoke of the upcoming synod: ‘Young people, Faith and Vocational Discernment’, and reminded the bishops to listen and engage with the young. “As good shepherds, we must ‘go out, seek and call’ them to our side and to the way of the Gospel”, he said.
The Archbishop highlighted the following Pre-Synodal meeting points:
1. Young people look for a sense of self.
2. Young people have a sense of belonging and purpose in a rapidly changing society.
3. The church has fallen behind in its understanding and use of technology and needs to fully engage modern society – a fertile place for New Evangelization.
“Ensure our youth that their bishops trust them and let them know that their priests love and appreciate their involvement in the parishes”, he concluded.
Earlier the AGM commenced with a day of prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The recollection was preached by Bp Peter Baquero sdb, Bishop of Kerema.
“The best compliment a bishop can receive is when people say that he is a man of God and a man of deep faith. Such a person discovers and recognizes God in his daily life’, he told the bishops.
He stated: “People are more attracted to us because of our gentleness, compassion and forgiving attitude.”
Quoting Pope Francis, he said that the bishop must have the smell of the sheep and the smile of a father. He also spoke about accompanying the youth. "We should be physically, spiritually and actively present to the youth. We should foster in them a living and intimate relationship with the Lord. This is vital for any discernment to happen, especially discerning God's dream for the youth. We should teach the young how to listen with openness, to the Spirit, and not to be afraid to make bold and radical choices in life”, he said.
Besides the different speakers, Anglican Bishop Denny Guka and Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Jack Urame will also be addressing the participants.
All the bishops will travel to Vanimo on 25th April for the Ordination of Bishop-elect Francis Meli.